Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Value, part 3 - The Hills are Alive


I want to close this trilogy on my word of the year: value with a recognition of how music has become invaluable and life sustaining for me. I'm an idiot for music, plain and simple. I suppose everyone needs to be driven outside the parameters of sane thinking over something to be able to play at all with others. With me, it's music. I care about music in my own weird way. I may take you or leave you - change jobs and change my persona and move on but I would go to the wall for music, die trying to get to it and deal with the devil to return for more.

I have a musical snapshot of these values at play in my day...

I was minding my own business enjoying my weekend, when a news story came over the Canadian TV about a boy singer being "discovered" in Stratford, Ontario. There was major footage of thousands of little girls screaming at the top of their lungs over this boy who looked and sang like a girl. What made my blood run cold was the backstory of how some slime-bucket-bottom-feeder guy in Atlanta was trolling the internet for some raw talent he could mold into another Micheal Jackson...like this was an honorable and acceptable activity. The predator found his cash cow in this kid. I went from ground zero have-a-nice-weekend into an incomprehensible rage upon viewing this story. Who among us, given the opportunity, wouldn't have moved to spare everyone the heartache that was Michael Jackson after his talent had been compromised? How much of his music did we loose to the popular culture machine? I felt as if I was watching cultural genocide right before my very eyes. The kid's mother is in her twenties. It cannot even be compared to Miley Cyrus who has parents who are savvy regarding the entertainment industry. It is the perfect storm of disaster for this young, possibly talented boy. Who would know if he really was gifted with so many people "molding" him? People are lining up all over the globe already to make a buck off this fifteen year old and he's looking like toast. To know that there is an element of deception at work in the art of music making is as repulsive an idea as genetically altered baby foods are to me. So I am keen on this bit of dirty business that popular culture is doing mixing up quality with quantity. I want to state clearly that Michael Jackson was a train wreck. And ask: "What are we doing supporting people who are trying to replicate such a tragedy? " I suspect these questions will never be asked in any way that is going to help some young artists turn away from such a tempting embrace...death grip not withstanding.

I'm just sayin'....

My Achilles heel is clearly music. I topple and become eviscerated over these kinds of stories.

The fact that there are small places of sanctuary for cultivating talent where a person can escape being taken advantage of is happily a continuing value in my life. The independent seed was planted and nurtured years ago by listening to Whole Wheat Radio and I continue to enjoy and support on-line concerts that are presented there. Thankfully there are places like WWR where a person can experience the tremendous joy of sharing while cultivating their talent without the threat of being fleeced by someone.

I have always needed to hear what can only be delivered by music. Listening grants me the greatest sustainable peace I have known in my life. It is a life affirming activity for me and the one place I find sanctuary. Every time the band tunes up, it's the Popeye zen music flour hour. I fall to pieces, the light gets in and I am able once more to touch extraordinary wonder.

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
."
Anthem
~LEONARD COHEN

I didn't even scratch the surface in all that the word value had to offer me this year and I still feel I came away with a lot. The issues of mortality,the birth of my granddaughter and the shift in the country's economy at large all came into play as I worked with this word. It's a good word, value. It gave me some ground and a place to stand. Considering who I am and how I roll, that is no small return on an investment.

5 comments:

Esther said...

I enjoyed all parts of this essay on Value, Cile. Thank you! I laughed at myself this morning wanting to go google this boy-singer. Oooo oooo a tragedy in the making? How super-tingly! I'm glad you made it through such a challenging year with your great insightful mind intact... I value YOU! Love, Esther

Crockhead said...

I'm enjoying your series on value. It makes me think of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Racing," by Robert Pirsig. Are you familiar with the book? Very popular 20 or so years ago. I think he referred to the same concept you're referring to as "quality." Read the book if you haven't already.

Have a Valuable New Year.

Jim said...

Thank you for writing and sharing this. You inspire me...

cile said...

Thank you for commenting. I has been a year full of life and good too, even with all the trials.

Crockhead: I did read the Pirsig's book when I was a teenager and I loved it. I should read it again because I just realized I neglected to put it on my list of titles that I have read. I guess the important influences find a way to to stay with a person, eh?

All the best to you all!

Rez Dog said...

Whod'a thunk it would all come down to Popeye. This world and our life in it are that absurd. You sound like you've reached a point where you can play any hand life deals. This is an excellent series. Thanks for sharing your amazing thoughts.